Film: 8424

Canals + Waterways | 1970 | Sound | Colour


Canal restoration 1970's

Opening sequence:
7am in the morning: a maintenance engineer comes home from the night shift and enters a 1970's semi-detached house. Cut to a white Morris Minor truck. First picked up is Tim Noakes, research chemist and working party organizer. Cut to van with 'Peak Forest Canal Society Ltd' emblazoned on the side. By now we have a full party of people who arrive at the lock of a canal to work on the restoration of a 14 mile section of the Peak Forest National Canal. Narrator's voice, over pictures of one of the locks being cleared by a number of volunteers, explains that the canal has been un navigable since 1964/5. In conjunction with British Waterways the group have volunteered their services to restore the disused canal. Ironically, restoration is the cheapest alternative use for the canal, as other methods involving filling it with concrete are prohibitively expensive. Various shots of dredging are shown, as material (mud) is removed from the base of the canal. School-teacher Dave Brown is the Working Party's stone-wall expert. Cut to bank clerk Peter Stockwell who discusses the canal work he has been doing for about six years. He is filmed in a mechanical digger transporting waste material retrieved from the bottom of the canal. Peter is seen driving along a busy main road and then depositing his load of mud in a nearby field. Cut to the workers eating fish and chips. They discuss the work they do on the canals and why they are motivated to do it. Cut to shot of canal with tunnel in background and anglers fishing on either side. Four of the working party arrive on Sunday morning. Computer engineer Andrew McCarthy is about to carry out an intimate inspection of an underground by-wash or overflow channel. Close-up shots of the working party delving into the undergrowth to gain access to the ground level pot-hole like overflow. By Sunday afternoon Lock 15's original brickwork has been exposed. Alan West, volunteer at the weekend and during the week as a waterway engineer, discusses the 150 year history of the canal system, a crucial component in the Industrial revolution. Cut to the volunteers singing a traditional song in the pub.

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